Patterns of Parenting during Adolescence: Perceptions of Adolescents and Parents

Article excerpt

Many studies of parenting during adolescence have examined the relations between parenting characteristics (e.g., parenting style and parental involvement) and adolescent outcomes (e.g., school achievement), but few studies have described the actual patterns of parenting during adolescence. The purposes of this study were (1) to explore differences in maternal and paternal parenting style and parental involvement, (2) to examine the differences between parents' and adolescents' perceptions of parenting style and parental involvement, and (3) to explore the changes in parenting style and parental involvement between the adolescents' ninth and twelfth grade years.

Review of Literature

Parenting style usually is conceptualized along two dimensions: parental demandingness (control) and parental responsiveness (warmth), which can be combined to create four categories of parenting - authoritative (high demandingness and high responsiveness), authoritarian (high demandingness and low responsiveness), indulgent or permissive (low demandingness and high responsiveness), and indifferent or neglecting (low demandingness and low responsiveness) (Baumrind, 1971; Maccoby & Martin, 1983). Research has shown that authoritative parenting is more related to higher levels of adjustment (Steinberg, Mounts, Lamborn, & Dornbusch, 1991), psychosocial maturity (Steinberg, Elmen, & Mounts, 1989), psychosocial competence (Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, & Dornbusch, 1991), self-esteem (Bartle, Anderson, & Sabatelli, 1989; Johnson, Shulman, & Collins, 1991), and academic success (Dornbusch, Ritter, Leiderman, Roberts, & Fraleigh, 1987; Steinberg et al., 1989) than are other parenting styles. Studies which examined the dimensions of parenting separately similarly found positive relations of both acceptance (responsiveness) and control (demandingness) with psychosocial maturity (Steinberg et al., 1989), school achievement (Paulson, 1994; Steinberg et al., 1989), and self-esteem (Bartle et al., 1989; Parish & McCluskey, 1992; Paulson, Hill, & Holmbeck, 1991). Parental involvement also is considered an important aspect of parenting, especially in relation to children's academic achievement (see Hess & Holloway, 1984 for a review). Three dimensions of parental involvement are found to be related positively to achievement outcomes; namely parental values and expectations (Gottfried & Gottfried, 1989; Paulson, 1994; Steinberg, Lamborn, Dornbusch, & Darling, 1992; Yee & Eccles, 1988), interest in grades and helping with homework (Paulson, 1994; Steinberg et al., 1992), and involvement in school functions (Paulson, 1994; Steinberg et al., 1992; Stevenson & Baker, 1987).

Despite the excellence of these research endeavors, most of these studies on the effects of parenting style and parental involvement on adolescent outcomes have one or more of three major limitations. First, differences between mothers' and fathers' parenting were not considered in many of the studies, although research has reported differences in adolescents' perceptions of their mothers and fathers and in the influences of mothers' and fathers' parenting practices on adolescent outcomes. For example, adolescents tend to link more emotional attributes to mothers and more rigid and formal attributes to fathers; Pipp, Shaver, Jennings, Lamborn, and Fischer (1985) and Youniss and Smollar (1985) found that adolescents' perceived their fathers to be authority figures who provided advice on practical matters and guidelines for behavior, whereas they perceived their mothers to be a combination of authority and equality, intimacy, and conflict. Less is known about maternal and paternal differences in parental involvement.

Second, many of the parenting studies during adolescence considered only adolescents' perceptions of parenting, although research has reported that adolescents' and parents' perceptions of family characteristics may be very different and may predict adolescent outcomes differently. …